Coach & Powertrain: Problems Using Biodiesel?

Ken Freund
May 8, 2012
Filed under RV Tech Q&A

During a trip in our motorhome from North Dakota to Iowa we filled the tank with biodiesel and within 100 miles the engine started acting as if it were running out of fuel. I pulled over, shut off the engine, restarted it after 10 seconds and then it ran fine again. I had to do this a number of times until we got home. When I checked, the stored trouble code indicated a fuel problem (injectors, filter possibly). I had run the tank low, so I filled it with plain No. 2 diesel, took a 400-mile trip, and it ran perfectly.

Could a batch of biodiesel cause this sort of problem? Also, could a tank of plain No. 2 clear up the gunky injectors and/or filter? Thanks for your help.

— Marlan and Barb Haakenson, Via email

 You didn’t mention what model engine you have, the percentage of biodiesel you used or what kind it was. Any fuel can be contaminated; I suspect you had some water in the fuel. You should remove the fuel filter and pour it out into a clear jar to see what’s in it. Then install a new filter, fill it with clean fuel and bleed the air from the system. Also, carry a spare new filter in the coach.

— Ken Freund

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